BEETROOT Curry At this time of year, if you are as fortunate as we are, you have a surfeit of vegetable crops. Here is an idea how to use one of these. It’s simplicity belies the smooth, sweet flavour that results. Do not eat too much of it, beetroot is just as good boiled or roasted, save some for another good day. What ever you do, make sure that the beet are fresh and not bitter or woody. Take them from the ground and store them in a clamp rather than leave them in the ground too long, particularly in winter.
Ingredients as an accompaniment for 4 to 5 servings:
12 oz (375g) raw, peeled beetroot cut into 1/4″ (6.35mm) thick slices about 1/2″ (12mm) wide (wear gloves, they stain!).
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, I sometimes use a little sesame oil as a substitute
1 large, fat, clove of garlic chopped as small as you can
1 heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of corn flour to thicken, ordinary flour will do
Cayenne pepper – I use 1/4 teaspoon, this makes it subtly hot
1/2 lb (250g) chopped tomatoes, tinned will do but fresh are better
1 teaspoon salt
Some water, about 1/4 pint is usually enough but be prepared to add more if things get sticky.
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan. When hot, add the cumin seeds and garlic. Stir and fry for a minute or so. Add the onion, continue stirring and frying. When the onions are just starting to brown, turn down the heat and add the cayenne, stir twice and add the corn flour or flour, keep stirring. The objective is to get the flour to absorb some of the oil. Do not get things too hot at this point. Add the tomatoes and salt. Stir and bring to the boil, add a little more than half of the water, you should have a fairly moderately thick red sauce at this point. Add the beetroot. Bring back to the boil, cover and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes or until the beetroot is tender.
If at any point the sauce is too thick, remove cover, add a little more water, take up the heat, and reheat whilst stirring.
Keema curry to give it its proper name is usually made from minced lamb. Here we present a recipe that uses minced beef which is more usual in the UK and also more economical. This is a medium spicy curry that cooks quickly and keeps well. You could also use this free recipe with cubed casserole meat (beef or lamb) but the cooking time will be much longer, up to 1.5hrs. Serve with plain boiled rice and possibly a side dish of carrot and cabbage curry or a spinach dish. A lower calorie version of this recipe suitable for a diet plan is suggested.
Ingredients for 4 servings:
400 – 500g (approximately 1 lb) lean minced beef. Minced Lamb may be used but see recipe.
1 large onion, about 200g (0.5lb) finely chopped
2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil for frying
2 cloves garlic, crushed in a press
1 medium size (2″ or 5cm long) hot green chilli. More may be used if you prefer a hotter dish. De-seed the chilli if you want the flavour of chilli without so much heat.
1 tablespoon (15ml) ground cumin
2 teaspoons (10ml) ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon (3ml) ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon (3ml) cayenne powder, adjust according to strength required
1 400g tin peeled and chopped plum tomatoes, fresh tomatoes may be used but remove skins!
1.5 (8ml) teaspoons salt
1/2 lb (220g) new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ (1.5cm) cubes
Optional for a lower calorie version: replace 100g of the meat with 125g of carrot diced into 5mm cubes.
Heat the oil over a medium heat and add the onion when hot, stir and fry for 5 minutes or until the onion just starts to brown. Add the crushed garlic and chopped green chilli. Stir and fry for a further minute. Add the meat and continue to stir and fry until the meat has lost all its pink colour, make sure that it is well broken up.
Reduce the heat slightly and add the ground spices and cayenne, continue stirring and frying for 3 minutes ensuring that all the meat is well coated in spice mix.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes and salt, continue heating whilst stirring occasionally until the mixture is back to a gentle boil.
Add the potatoes and stir. If the potatoes are not completely covered by liquid, add some of the water until they are. Bring back to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked, check and stir frequently during this time.
Mix in the coriander garnish, stir once and serve.
If using lamb or lamb mince, it may be necessary to remove some excess fat during the early frying, this is easiest using a spoon at this time rather than leaving it until the end.
New potatoes are best as they should not break up. If using old or floury potatoes, add them later and check that they are not over-cooking.
The low calorie version should use beef mince and the carrot should be added at the same time as the potato. Restrict the amount of rice eaten at the same time to no more 3oz (80g) uncooked weight.